How did Shah Rukh Khan agree to enact the song for the credit titles?
He's the co-producer of "Kaal". I decided to begin the film with a song and thought of several heroines, in a very Ram Gopal Varma way. After all I've great regard for Varma and "Kaal" is definitely derivative of his school of filmmaking.
If "Kaal" does well, then I say 'Well done, Ramu. Thank you.' Anyway after going through a list of item girls I suddenly thought of Shah Rukh Khan as the item boy. I thought, why not? Shah Rukh is the producer and my friend and brother. We've an equation where I can take his presence for granted. I asked him and he readily agreed.
Shah Rukh is the best producer and item boy one can find. Everyone knows when he cries the world cries with him, when he laughs the whole world laughs with him. The one thing that Shah Rukh hadn't done was to flaunt his muscles. When you see him in the "Kaal dhamaal" song you'll see he can be a stud if he wants to be.
You brought Malaika Arora into the song with Shah Rukh to recreate the "Chaiyyan chaiyyan" magic?
Malaika is a dear friend. I love her. She's one of the sexiest women on the fashion scene. Virtually Mother 2005! When I brought her in "Kaal" I didn't think of "Chaiyyan chaiyyan". I just thought of her as the sexiest woman to accompany Shah Rukh on screen.
Is your involvement with "Kaal" as keen as it was with "Kal Ho Na Ho"?
"Kaal" is Soham's baby through and through. Besides the two songs I haven't inflicted a single moment of my creative efforts on "Kaal". It's definitely a very original horror film, not borrowed from any Hollywood film. When I read Soham Shah's narrative I wondered where that came from!
I thought he had unlearnt everything from Ram Gopal Varma when he worked with me in "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham". I think I should put Ramu's name in the credits.
"Kaal" is a different experience for Hindi moviegoers. Though I'm sure we've all been scared in the movies before.
"Kaal" was originally planned as a songless thriller?
Yes, but now we've the songs. It's a very strange song-less 'song-full' thriller. All the songs occur in the background. The two main songs "Kaal dhamaal" and "Tauba tauba" will come at the beginning and end respectively.
The music won't hamper the narrative. Music is an integral part of all our productions. It's also an important marketing tool and builds up a curiosity for the film. Really, there's no getting away from music. Earlier we had acquired the rights to the international hit "Pretty Woman" for "Kal Ho Na Ho". Now we acquired the right for another international hit "Eye Of The Tiger" for "Kaal".
Aren't Indian producers notorious for taking what they want without permission?
That's not the way our company Dharma Productions functions. We don't do anything that's politically or legally incorrect. Sony Music negotiated for the rights of "Eye Of The Tiger". Then my composers Salim-Sulaiman got to work in it, turning it into a Sufi statement.
How did you select these virtual newcomers to do the music for such a prestigious production?
I was very impressed by their contribution to "Ab Tak Chappan" and "Dhoom". When I met them they gave me the tune for what finally went into "Kaal" as "Tauba tauba". I felt if they had this in them then I want to hear much more. They've a great sense of melody and rhythm.
Are you sure you haven't contributed to "Kaal" beyond the songs? You had said the same about "Kal Ho Na Ho" which turned out to be a Karan Johar film right through.
It's over and done with. "Kaal" is completely Soham's film. You can check with the cast. No backseat driving. When you see this film you'd refuse to believe I produced it. "Kal Ho Na Ho" was entirely from my school of filmmaking. I was there for the complete 125 days of shooting. The director Nikhil Advani has moved on. I wish him all the best. And that's where it ends.
And the ensemble cast in "Kaal"?
Every actor has a fair footage... I started casting with Vivek Oberoi and the process ended with Vivek again. He initially said no. Then Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapur were considered but they had date problems. Then Vivek returned, and fitted in wonderfully. Initially he was to do the role that Ajay Devgan did.